March 5, 2012
By John Barnett
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As we open to Psalm 3 we are seeing David’s response when bad things happen to him, especially when he is doing nothing wrong.
The lesson is that when bad things happened in David’s life he looked for God for understanding.
For us the lesson is that when bad things happen to good people, they are to look to God for understanding.
We start at the last word of the superscript that appears just before the first verse.
That one word sets the tone for this period of David’s life we are examining.
That one word in Psalm 3 that weighed heaviest on David appears at the end of the attribution line: A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his *son*.
David was a good man.
He loved the Lord and served the Lord.
Though he failed at times like we all do, he was completely forgiven.
Yet he went through years of hard times as consequences rippled through his life.
Now the painful events have crystallized.
After so many other pains and struggles, a powerful new wave hits.
All of this unforeseen and painful time of trials is reflected in Psalm 3, and in the parallel passage of II Samuel 15: was because of David’s own son.
What could lead to a son to rape his own sister?
Or what would incite a son to murder his own brother?
Or, as we see here, what could drive a son to try to murder his own father?
One word answers all three—sin!
Sin led Amnon to rape Tamar; sin prompted Absalom to murder Amnon; and sin drove Absalom to seek his father’s death.
David was facing the wider ripple of sin, now that it was dealt with in his life, David had to endure the effects it had on those around him that he loved.
Which reminds us that:
*LIKE DAVID—WE ALL HAVE PROBLEMS*
God has a lesson for all of us here in Psalm 3, about what to do when bad things happen to good people.
The lesson that God teaches us today is: they look for God.
That is the only choice we can make when the waves keep rolling over us, the troubles keep coming, and life never stops hurting.
That is what David does in both Psalms 3 and in Psalm 63, as he runs from his own son, and reflects upon the goodness of God: that never ends, and is always close by.
That is the supreme peace David felt as he laid down in the presence of his enemies and slept.
So should we, humbly, and in complete dependence upon our Lord.
But what David faced in principle was what many, many parents have to agonize through.
We could summarize David’s struggles as:
*When Godly Parents Have Ungodly Children*
Since time began, parents in every generation have faced the heartache of children who do not follow the Lord, and even turn away from Him.
What comfort is there for those whose hearts have been broken many times over by wayward children?
What hope is there after all the years we loved them, earnestly prayed for them, read God’s Word to them, nurtured them in the ways of the Lord, and sought to guide them as best we could—when they turn their backs on God?
Here are some truths that David learned the hard way, and that many of us even here have also learned.
These are the truths that comfort our hearts—and the hearts of the many parents who are godly, but have ungodly children:
• Absalom’s rebellion was *no surprise to God*.
David wrote for God the words of Psalm 139, that every day of our life has already been written in His book—even the darkest of days!
• Absalom’s rebellion was *an opportunity for God to see David’s response.*
Our response is what matters to God most.
He is watching and waiting for what we will do, to whom we will turn—and when we turn to Him, our Lord is glorified.
• Absalom’s rebellion must have* driven David to pray* for what he may have thought impossible—Absalom’s return to the Lord and to David.
• Absalom’s rebellion *opened to David a situation where only God could encourage him* in times like that (Remember one of David’s other lowest points of his life when he thought he had lost all his wives and kids in I Samuel 30:6b)!
• Absalom’s rebellion *filled David with hop*e as he remembered that God wasn’t ever through with him as long as he lived—and so, neither is God ever through with our wayward child.
• Absalom’s rebellion *reminded David that he had a perfect heavenly Father,* and then he saw his own imperfections reflected by his son.
• Absalom’s rebellion must have *humbled David* as he remembered how often he also had failed his children (Psalm 130:3), and failed to respond correctly to his perfect Father.
• Absalom’s rebellion must have *rebuked David* because he expected so much obedience from his imperfect parenting, yet he gave his heavenly Father such imperfect obedience—even though God’s parenting was perfect!
• Absalom’s rebellion *made David believe* more and more each day what only God is able to do: touch their hearts, soften their hearts, and turn their hearts back to Him (as Ezekiel would later write in 36:26-27)—and to us.
• Absalom’s rebellion *showed David God’s never ending grace* as each wave of fear and sorrow rolled over him, and he found his feet firmly planted on the Solid Rock (Psalm 40:1-2)!
All of that from just that short statement: A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son.
I hope these truths that David would have found in God’s Word, will also give you strength when the parenting path gets rough—whether for a moment, a few weeks or months, or even for the rest of your life.
For as long as your children have breath, keep up on seeking God’s face on their behalf!
David did, and regardless of how much sorrow and pain Absalom’s betrayal caused him, he still continued his lifelong pattern of worshiping God.
As we open to Psalm 63, we move to the other song of deliverance David wrote from this hard time in his life of running from Absalom.
Despite fears, tears, troubles and dangers, David made a simple choice.
*DAVID USED EVERY MEANS TO PURSUE GOD*
We need a new generation of God-hearted, Spirit-empowered, Christ-seeking worshipers like David who earnestly pursue the Lord in all circumstances—like when David penned this song of worship in the hot, empty, lifelessness of the bleak and hostile desert while being chased by his son, Absalom (most likely the context of this psalm):
A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
1 O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
8 My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek my life, to destroy it,
Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
10 They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.
When we talk about David as a seeker of the Lord, we aren’t kidding.
Have you ever noticed how David uses just about every means possible to seek the Lord?
*David’s Seeking The Lord*
We need believers like David who used every tense of life to describe his pursuit of the Lord!
Even a quick glance at this psalm in your English Bible shows an ancient Hebrew pattern; David used seven different means to praise and worship God (seven as in a complete set):
David used his lips to speak of God’s kind and true love: Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, *my lips* shall praise You (v.
2. David harnessed his tongue to bless the God he loved: … *I will bless You* while I live …” (v. 4a).
3. David used his hands to point to the God he sought and loved: … I will lift up *my hands in Your name* (4b).
4. David used his will to intentionally make a declaration of God’s worthiness: *My soul* shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness … (v.
5. David again spoke with his mouth to lift praises to the God he loves: … And *my mouth* shall praise You with joyful lips (v.